Rescue workers and volunteers will resume efforts Thursday morning to recover the body of a woman who died when her home collapsed from high winds Wednesday afternoon on Alpine Lane in the Holiday Haven area.
The name of the woman has not yet been released.
The storm, which some believe produced a tornado, left a scattered path of destruction just to the north east of Smithville off Cookeville Highway from the Pine Grove Road and Holiday Haven area to Ponder Road, Puckett's Point, and then on to the Falling Water and Backbone areas in the Johnson's Chapel Community.
Aside from the fatality, no injuries were reported but several homes, garages, and other structures were damaged by the high winds or from trees that fell on them and power lines are down which has caused power outages for many residents.
DeKalb County Fire Chief Donny Green said the recovery operation was called off Wednesday night but will resume at daybreak Thursday. "At this point, we're in the recovery stage of the operation. We have confirmed we have a body trapped inside a collapsed structure. That (home) has pretty much been demolished. We're going to stop operations tonight but we're still going to be planning our approach on how we're going to try and do this (recovery operation) safely," said Chief Green.
"We're going to try and pick back up at daybreak tomorrow (Thursday) and continue the recovery operation to get in and recover the body. We're sending a lot of our outside resources back tonight but they're coming back early in the morning to help us get in with the planning process on how we're going to approach this," he said.
When asked if this storm actually spawned a tornado, Chief Green said there has been no official confirmation but a county firefighter claimed to have spotted a funnel cloud.
Sheriff Patrick Ray said he called in all deputies Wednesday afternoon to help in providing security. "We're providing security and backup to the rescue squad and fire department. We've gone around searching houses. That's what we've done today. We've also secured the scenes where there has been damage to homes. Tonight a lot of them don't have electricity so we've got a security plan in effect. I called in all the deputies today to assist with this and we'll have them throughout the night and into tomorrow," said Sheriff Ray.
In addition to local law enforcement agencies, fire departments, EMS, rescue squad, and Emergency Management Agency coordinator Charlie Parker, several agencies and emergency services from outside the county have also responded. "Its really been overwhelming at the support we've received from all of our agencies in the county as well as adjoining counties and cities and beyond who have come to help us. We've had extra law enforcement to come in. Extra fire and EMS and rescue services have come in. We can't say enough about the support we've had during this unfortunate event," said Chief Green.
Local Red Cross volunteers, who have been rendering assistance on site, are asking the public to donate food and bottled water for all those helping in the recovery and storm cleanup effort. Monetary donations will also be accepted. If you would like to donate, stop by the Red Cross office in the new county complex on South Congress Boulevard.